Thrashing at Sea

Whenever I swim in a large body of water, I’m a little scared.

Especially in the ocean, anything could be down there. Sharks. Big Squids. Gnarly splinter-smithing timbers treated with arsenic and covered in skin-shredding barnacles.

Unknown things…

So I tread water and start to relax. Just as I’m growing comfortable, my foot or arm (or worse) brushes against something…

Terrifying. I begin thrashing my way towards the boat or shore or platform where anything that wants to touch me will be spotted before it gets any ideas. Hmm… nothing. I didn’t touch anything else, I’ll stay in the water a little longer.

There it is again. All right, I’m going to grab it this time to figure out what the hell it is so I can relax. It’s sea-weed. Or a plastic bag. Or a stick.

OK, we’re cool.

This is a hostile reaction to a new discovery. I’m not really upset about sea-weed touching my leg; I’m upset that my ignorant assumptions were proven false.

Ignorance is a supportive medium for anyone floating in it. It’s an open ocean with no landmarks. It’s impossible to tell where you are, and it doesn’t really matter, because you don’t know where anything is anyway.

Until you bump into something. That’s when we start thrashing. If it turns out to be only one type of thing in the water, then maybe we can relax…

What if the second thing you bump into has a different texture? Then it’s really scary. You had just gotten used to there being sea-weed, when something solid brushed past!

That could be enough to end my swim.

A third thing?!

Jesus, how much do I have to know about if I’m going to go for a swim? I can’t be expected to learn all these things. You know what, that’s it. Swim’s over. I’m getting out. I don’t care that I could swim to anywhere in the world from here. How about you do that, pal!

Stupid ocean, filled with things you can’t even see without getting wet…

All images public domain.